Late last week, Indonesia’s military chief issued a call to the country’s security forces to upgrade their digital skills to confront a range of challenges. His comments were just the latest in a long string of similar statements issued by Indonesian officials highlighting the country’s cyber challenges as it prepares to head into presidential elections in April. As I have noted before in these pages, along with other Asian states, Indonesia has been taking steps to confront some of the cyber challenges it has long faced. Indonesia is one of the world’s most vulnerable countries to cyber attacks, and the challenge has grown at an alarming rate over the past few years including under President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, with the full spectrum of challenges including not just national security or e-commerce, but also in the distribution of so-called fake news and even issues related to e-voting.
Indonesia has taken a series of steps to address these issues, with a case in point being the creation of the new National Cyber Encryption Agency (BSSN) back in 2017, which has been added to the list of organizations helping the Southeast Asian state contend with these challenges. Nonetheless, even officials themselves recognize that the country has a long way to go in order to fully confront these problems.
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This week, Indonesia’s cyber challenge was in the headlines again following remarks issued by Indonesia’s military (TNI) commander Hadi Tjahjanto. Per Indonesian news agency ANTARA, Tjahjanto told members of the military police corps at an air force base in East Jakarta on February 8 to upgrade their digital skills to deal with the increasing trend of cybercrimes in the country on Internet-based media.